My 6 Favorite Things of 2016
By all accounts, 2016 has been a pretty crummy year. I still can’t wrap my head around most of it and it’s been more than a month. And I’m still disappointed that the Warcraft movie wasn’t a bigger hit. That thing had so much potential! I still like it, and that’s all that matters to me.
Anyway, like most online writers, I figure I might as well wrap up my favorite bits of pop culture in 2016.
As with the changing of the tides, so too come the end of year Best lists. But unlike really cool, professional websites who watch a ton of movies and know what they’re talking about, I only really pay attention to four things: movies, video games, TV shows and comics. And every year, I scramble to fill in the final two slots to make a List of Six. So sue me.
Join me after the jump for my favorite bits and pieces of 2016!
6. Late Night Host: Seth Meyers
I don’t watch late night talk shows. Never have. Probably never will. But I love watching their clips and comedy bits on Youtube. That’s quality Youtube entertainment. And for the first time in my life, I started paying attention to Seth Meyers. He joined Saturday Night Live long after I’d stopped watching, and he was barely a blip on my celebrity radar. But as I watched more and more clips, the Jimmy Kimmels and Jimmy Fallons of the world slipped away. Even Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah stopped mattering. It was Meyers and his Closer Look segments that truly captured my interest this year, zeroing in on politics and giving me the post-Jon Stewart fix I’d been searching for. Couple that with funny bits like ‘Ya Burnt’ and ‘Jokes Seth Can’t Tell’ and this guy is the new King of Late Night, as far as I’m concerned.
5. Song: The Sound of Silence by Disturbed
As I point out every year, I don’t know music. I don’t follow music. I don’t know bands or singers. I get all my music from the soundtracks of TV shows or commercials. I honestly don’t remember any new singer or song that came out in 2016 that had any impact on my life. But Disturbed did this really awesome cover of The Sound of Silence last year, and I discovered it this year when they did Conan. So yeah, that gets my vote. Take it or leave it.
4. Video Game: Pokemon Moon
I didn’t actually play may new video games in 2016, possibly because I’ve given up on console gaming. So of the few new games I did play, and if we don’t count Witcher 3 DLC, then Pokemon Moon is definitely the tops. I just beat the game a few weeks ago, and it was a lot of fun. The game was filled with color and personality. They actually changed some of the traditional Pokemon dynamics, like gym battles, which was a blast. And for once, I was actually really invested in the storyline. Pokemon Moon might be my last major Pokemon game ever, so I’m glad I’ve gone out on a high note.
Runner Up: Total War: Warhammer
I’ve been a Total War fan for a few years now. It’s a great combination of realtime military strategy and map-based conquest. This year, they took the traditional Total War gameplay and added the mythical might of the medieval Warhammer franchise. Playing Total War with dragons, giants, orks, knights and wizards was a blast!
3. TV Show: Stranger Things
Stranger Things was the surprise hit of the summer! I had been hearing good things, and when I finally sat down to watch it, I ended up binging the entire show in a single night — good thing I didn’t have work in the morning. I can’t even remember the last time I’d stayed up so late into the morning. But Stranger Things was worth it! The characters, the mystery, the 80s style, the deft storytelling; this show was a ton of fun and deserves all the accolades. It’s one of the pinnacles of binge TV, of which I am a big fan.
Runner Up: Steven Universe
There were a lot of worthy runners up this year, be they Daredevil, Like Cage, Westworld, or BoJack Horseman, but I think I have to give the second place trophy to Steven Universe. The entirety of the third season, and all of the fourth season so far, aired this year and it was touching, adventurous, hilarious and important all at once. Steven Universe was just that damn good and watchable this year.
2. Movie: Captain America: Civil War
Marvel does it again! I may be one of the biggest Marvel movie fanboys you’re ever likely to read, and once again I loved their movies this year. Doctor Strange was great, their Netflix shows were great, and Captain America: Civil War was wonderful. The action was awesome. Not only do we get some of the biggest and best superhero action in movies to date, but the film climaxes in a smaller, more meaningful bout of fisticuffs — which is not something we usually see in these movies. The characters are as entertaining as ever, and this film was full of great characters, from the major players to the minor cameos. And that airport fight is the stuff of legends. That’s going to be with us for a very long time. Is anything ever going to be that cool again? Let’s hope so, because there are a bunch more of these superhero movies still to come!
Runner Up: Arrival
I saw a lot of movies this year, some good, some bad and some in between. I’m going to go with Arrival for my runner-up because of just how powerful the movie was (also because it was recent. How am I expected to remember Deadpool all these months later?). Arrival is a slow and somber movie, but the way it approaches an alien ‘invasion’ is cool and geeky. And then the emotional climax really brings everything together, with probably the best twist I saw in movies all year.
Also, Rogue One was super close to taking Arrival’s spot. But now that I’ve sat on Rogue One for a week, I still think Arrival gets the second place here. Rogue One was still awesome, though.
1. Comic: Power Man and Iron Fist
There were a lot of really good comics this year, and I think the best one has been Power Man and Iron Fist. I’d never been a fan of either character, let alone their team-up, but I like giving new comics a try and this one blew me away. Not only did writer David F. Walker present the two main characters as a quality duo, with friendly banter and real personalities, but he went one step further and started building a whole world around them. Soon the minor supporting characters and their network of relationships was just as important as what Luke and Danny were doing, all in a grounded, realistic, yet full-of-superheroes setting. Power Man and Iron Fist is a wonderful balance between comic book superheroics and the grounded, realistic life on the streets.
Runner Up: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Who could have guessed that the Power Rangers comic would be so good? I was a huge fan of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as a kid, and when I first heard about this series, I assumed it would just be another comic book tie-in adaptation. These rarely go well. But since the show has been off the air for decades at this point, writer Kyle Higgins has been allowed to go for broke! He takes the basics of Power Rangers that we know and love and looks into the details, into the dark corners that simply never got mentioned in the show. This comic takes a popular property from my childhood and expands it for the modern comic audience, and it’s a nostalgic roller coaster ride. I love it!
And if I may take an extra moment, I want to remind you all that the best single issue of the year was Harley Quinn #8 for that amazing, turn-the-comic-on-its-head emotional twist! It was a really great year for comics.
What were your favorite bits and pieces of 2016? Did you have any? Has anyone else survived? Let me know in the comments!